John Petter Havnerås

John Petter Havnerås has made his home in Western Norway – in natural surroundings marked by sheer mountainsides and a vast ocean. He could hardly come closer to that landscape which in the 1700’s was called the sublime. For the sublime landscape was that which through its grandeur and power gave the viewer a metaphysical thrill – and can still do so, for example when we experience the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich.

The sublime is a category which has once again become topical, but not in the same way as during the Romantic period. Then, the sublime was supposed to illuminate Nature’s omnipotence – but what is left of this omnipotence today? Our Western civilization threatens to pollute and defile nature to the extent of reducing it to an enormous crumbling ruin – with the sublimity of doom.

The pictures of John Petter Havnerås are concerned with this process. The paintings, often of considerable dimensions, are not made in the usual manner. He builds them up laboriously – wax layer by wax layer – and then digs down into the surface again to bring out a forgotten sun, red and heavy from the poisonous atmosphere. Or just a few simple lines here and there, a bare indication of a natural form. It seems that the destruction has transformed the landscapes into unrecognizable abstract surfaces. Or resurrected them as inner mental landscapes – sublimity transformed into pure horror.

This is how these pictures appear in an association across centuries with Caspar David Friedrich’s paintings of the sublime. It is not only form and color that is in focus, but our own Western civilization. However, the association to Friedrich is only one of several possibilities in Havnerås’ paintings. They continuously bring to mind pictures from both the past and the present. These are often sombre associations, but not exclusively.

The paintings can also have a poetic sensitivity that may not become apparent until they are juxtaposed with pictures of the Nordic summer night. So these pictures are not unequivocal. It is rather so that they are too full of meaning to be caught and held in a single interpretation. Perhaps this is why they have the effect of stirring our fantasy?

Gunnar Danbolt, Professor in Art History, University of Bergen

27th of february 1956, Kragerø

1981–1985 Vestlandets Kunstakademi i Bergen
1983  Kunstakademiet i Trondheim

Stays abroad
2015 Sicily, Italy
2003 India
1999–2000 San Francisco, USA
1997 Sicily, Italy
1988–1989 New York, USA
1984 Berlin, Germany
1983 Spain


Separate exhibitions
2016 Galleri Langegården, Bergen
2013 Kragerø Kunstforening
2013 Galleri Grand, Arendal
2012 Fondazione Mazzullo, Taormina, Italy
2012 Chiesa Santa Maria Alemanna, Messina, Italy
2011 Fredrikstad Kunstforening
2011 Galleri Gullsmedengen, Arendal
2010 Galleri Tjorehagen
2009 Senter for kvinne- og kjønnsforskning, Universitetet i Bergen
2008 Kragerø Kunstforening
2008 Galleri Tjorehagen
2005 Galleri S.E. Bergen
2003 Galleri Tvedestrand
2001 Berg Museum, Kragerø
2001 Galleri Companiet, Kragerø
1999 Galleri “Salone degli Specchi”, Provincia Regionale di Messina, Italy
1998 Galleri Tvedestrand
1998 Galleri Bohlou, Bergen
1996 Bergen Kunstforening, Bergen
1996 Telemark Fylkesgalleri, Notodden
1990 Festspillutstilling i Galleri 1, Bergen
1990 Galleri Sølvberget, Stavanger
1990 Galleri Haaken, Oslo
1989 Frank Bustamante Gallery, New York, USA
1988 Galleri Dobloug, Oslo
1987 Bergen Kunstforening, Bergen
1987 Galleri Roctor, Gothenborg, Sweden
1987 Kunsthallen, Brandts Klædefabrikk, Odense, Denmark
1987 Galleri Brandt's, Copenhagen, Denmark
1985 Galleri Langegården, Bergen
1985 Galleri29, Vaxsjø, Sweden
1984 “Fem Norske”, Galleri Asbøk, Copenhagen, Denmark

Collective exhibitions
2017 Kunstgarasjen, Bergen
2017 Galleri Vedholmen, Bergen
2012 Konstepedemien, Gothenborg, Sweden
2010 “Blodig Alvor” – 1980 tallskunsten, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger, Haugar
2007 Jomfrulandsutstillingen, Kragerø
2003 Jomfrulandsutstillingen, Kragerø
2002 Galleri Tvedestrand, Tvedestrand
1998 Nasjonalgalleriet, Vilnius, Lithuania
1992 Oslo Kunstforening, Oslo
1992 Skiens Kunstforening, Skien
1990 Oslo Kunstforening, Oslo
1989 Frank Bustamante Gallery, New York, USA
1988 Bergen Kunstforening, Bergen
1985 Galleri Parkveien, Molde
1985 Ung Nordisk Kulturfestival, Stockholm, Sweden
1984 Casa de la Cultura, Malaga, Spain

Annual and region exhibitions
1999 “Norske Bilder”, Oslo
1990 Høstutstillingen, Oslo
1986 Høstutstillingen, Oslo
1983 Unge Kunstneres Samfund, Oslo
1982 Vestlandsutstillingen, Bergen

Public purchases (selection)
1996 Det Norske Storting, Oslo
1990 Bergen Billedgalleri, Bergen
1984 Bergen Billedgalleri, Bergen
1990 Aastrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo
1986 Gøteborg Kunstmuseum, Gothenborg
1985 Norsk Kulturråd, Oslo

Decorations (selection)
2005 Austrheim Rådhus
2005 PM Mote, Hønefoss
1998 Universitet i Bergen, Bergen
1998 Statoil, Stavanger
1987 Haukeland Sykehus, Bergen
1986 Statfjord B Plattformen

2013 Seniorstipend
2010 Diverse stipend
2009 Diverse stipend
2003 Chr Lorch Schives legat
1998 Hordaland Fylkesstipend
1993 Vederlagsfondets stipend
1988–1991 Statens 3-årige arbeidsstipend
1986 Statens reise- og studiestipend